Emotional Rollercoaster

Larry and I went to Washington D.C. last weekend with members of the Veterans of the Vietnam War. I haven’t cried this much since my father died.

We started before dawn on Friday morning with a long wait for coffee etc. at Dunkin Donuts. We never did figure out the problem since there were only three customers inside, one or two cars at the driveup, and three employees. The guy in front of us ordered iced tea and had been waiting before we arrived. I could have brewed and served coffee for ten in the amount of time it took for them to screw up and then straighten out our order.

After that we boarded the Constitution Coach, which left at 6 a.m. and made it past NYC without a hitch. (Full review will follow at the end of the series.) Once I found out that we couldn’t check into the hotel until 4:30 I nearly blew up. Why on earth did we allow 10 1 /2 hours for a six hour trip? With two rest stops and a brief slow up at a weigh station we arrived at 2:30. Found out later that they aren’t checking buses for weight but for all the necessary gas tax stickers.

Some people were able to get rooms immediately. Others waited until 4:30. The woman at the desk told Larry that 300 people had checked out that morning. The delay was understandable, but it was still really unfair to leave disabled and older folks sitting in the lobby not knowing how long it would take to check in.

Review of the Holiday Inn Capitol: Not one of the doors or windows is flush with the surrounding walls. We didn’t need a nightlight because the inch gap under the door could have substituted for daylight. We thought it was really foggy when we got up. Turns out the lack of caulking around the windows had produced a magnificent special effect and had left the window sills absolutely soaked.

The bathroom was blessedly clean, and the cleaning staff went out of their way, but the ventilation led to an equal steam build up unless one left the door open while showering. We experienced Foggy Bottom without having to visit!

One feature that we thought would be a problem was actually benign. When we opened the curtains on arrival, our fifth-floor room looked down on the train tracks for Virginia Rapid Transit. A bunch of folks expected to be up all night with the noise, but the service seemed to stop after about 11 p.m. I heard one faint toot of a horn on Saturday a.m. and a couple of rumbles of wheels at some point. The cacophony from the ventilation system drowned out pretty much any other noise.

Larry was engaged in administrative details for some time. Nancy Rogalsky and I took a brief, brisk walk around the walk. It was breezy but the sunlight  lifted me out of SAD.

After everyone had been settled, we ate dinner at the Capitol Bistro in the hotel.  Having been warned away from the meatloaf, Larry ordered pork and I asked for mushroom ravioli. I had planned to order a salad, but the waiter said it would be too much because the meal came with soup and salad bar. Since the menu contained no hint of these extras, what seemed rather expensive all of a sudden became more than reasonable. The soup was an excellent crab bisque and the salad bar had all the usual suspects with a selection of dressings, plus fruit including (I think) candied papaya and candied mango. Larry wanted me to try them to be sure, but the thought of eating anything that sweet before tasting a creamy soup and a savory ravioli sent shudders up my spine.

The food and service were excellent until we requested the check. Then we waited, and waited. (All food service must be falling off a cliff. I was going to say into the toilet but that image is just too disgusting.) It was then circa 9 p.m. and we’d been in motion for more than fifteen hours. We were not happy. Eventually we were able to crawl back to the room and crawl into bed.

Tomorrow: Freezing at White House.

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